Saturday, December 3, 2011

Vanessa Dowell Pleads Guilty to Participating in Medicare Fraud Scheme


WASHINGTON—A Detroit-area occupational therapy assistant has pleaded guilty for her participation in a Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, FBI and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Vanessa Dowell, 50, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At sentencing, Dowell faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea documents, Dowell was an uncertified occupational therapy assistant who worked for Jos Campau Physical Therapy, which purported to provide physical and occupational therapy services. In 2005, Dowell was hired by a co-defendant to create and sign falsified occupational therapy files for Jos Campau Physical Therapy, which was owned and operated by two co-defendants. Dowell purported to be a certified occupational therapy assistant and fabricated and signed patient notes for occupational therapy services that she claimed she had provided. In fact, the services were never provided. Furthermore, as an unsupervised and uncertified assistant, Dowell was not permitted to perform the occupational therapy services.

Between approximately June 2005 and May 2007, Dowell and her co-conspirators at Jos Campau submitted or caused the submission of fraudulent physical therapy and occupational therapy claims to the Medicare program. Dowell personally submitted or caused to be submitted approximately $807,760 in claims for occupational therapy services that were never provided.

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